Germanus of ConstantinopleHail, Mary, full of grace, holier than the Saints, higher than the heavens,

more glorious than the Cherubim, more honourable than the Seraphim, and the most worshipful thing that the hands of God have made.

Hail, O dove, bearing in thy beak the olive-branch of peace that telleth us of salvation from the spiritual flood (Gen. 8:10),

dove, blessed omen of a safe harbour, whose wings are of silver, and thy feathers of gold, shining in the bright beams of the Most Holy and Light-giving Spirit (Ps. 67:14).

Hail, thou living garden of Eden, planted towards the East by the right hand of the Most Merciful and Mighty God,

wherein do grow to His glory rich lilies and unfading roses, for the healing of them that have drunk in death from the blighting and pestilential breezes of the bitter West (Gen. 2:8, 9);

Eden, wherein hath sprung that Tree of life, Whereof if any man eat he shall live for ever (Gen. 2:9; 3:22. John 6:52).

Hail, stately Palace of the King, most holy, stainless, purest, House of the Most High God, adorned with His Royal splendour, open to all, filled with Kingly dainties;

Palace wherein is that spiritual bridal chamber, not made with hands, nor hung with divers colours, in the which the Eternal Word, when He would raise up fallen man, wedded flesh unto Himself, that He might reconcile unto the Father them who had cast themselves away.

Hail, O rich and shady Mountain of God, whereon pastured the True Lamb, Who hath taken away our sins and infirmities (Hab. 3:3; Isa. 53:4; John 1:29),

mountain, whence hath been cut without hands that Stone which hath smitten the altars of the idols, and become the head-stone of the corner, marvellous in our eyes (Dan. 2:34; Ps. 117:22, 23).

Hail, thou holy Throne of God, thou divinest store-house, thou temple of glory, thou bright crown, thou chosen treasure, thou mercy-seat for the whole world, thou heaven declaring the glory of God (Ps. 18:2).

Hail, thou vessel of pure gold, made to hold the manna that came down from heaven, the sweet food of our souls, even Christ (Ex. 16:33; Heb. 9:4; John 6:49-51).

Hail, O purest Virgin, most praiseworthy and most worshipful, hallowed treasury for the wants of all creatures; thou art the untitled earth, the unploughed field;

thou art the vine full of flowers, the well overflowing with waters, Maiden and Mother; thou art the Mother that knew not a man, the hidden treasure of guilelessness, and the clear, bright star of holiness.

Germanus of Constantinople (c.634–c.733): Homily on the Presentation of the Theotokos from Mattins for the feast of the Immaculate Conception @ Divinum Officium.

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